Studies show that a natural math ability is not required for a student
to succeed. Sure, natural talent does help some children get ahead and
is especially evident in the lower grades, but a study by the Norwegian
University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim showed that the
biggest predictor of success was practice and a positive attitude.
"You become good at exactly what you practice," said Professor
Hermundur Sigmundsson, of NTNU's Department of Psychology. "Our
study shows little correlation between (being good at) the nine different
mathematical skills," Sigmundsson said. "For instance there
is little correlation between being able to solve a normal addition in
the form of '23 + 67′ and addition in the form of a word problem."
Math is a subject that most students think that they can or can't
do. While they are happy to admit that other subjects require hard work
to succeed, you often hear the "I'm not good at math,"
refrain. Everybody can be good at math, but it does take perseverance,
patience and hard work.
Start with a positive inner dialogue
Ask your child to change their inner and outer dialogue about math. Instead
of thinking that they can't do it or that they aren't good
at it, they should focus on the positive. "Well, I got pretty far
on that one," or "at least I got the beginning part right"
are better ways to look at the situation. When sitting down to homework
or to study for a test, a quick pep talk will do wonders.
Offer rewards for short and long-term goals
Offering big rewards for unattainable goals can actually be counter-productive
as children feel that larger goals are just too difficult to achieve.
Instead, set up a series of short-term goals that are manageable. For
example; ask your child to improve their math grade by 5% and offer a
reward that they can get excited about. Achieving short-term goals will
boost their confidence and make them more inclined to believe that the
long-term goals are also attainable.
When children do achieve goals, praise them and be sure to mention that
it was their hard work and perseverance that led to success.
Avoid homework wars
If you have to nag and cajole your children to do their math homework or
if working with you creates tension, then it may be time to switch tactics.
Ask your children to speak with the teacher at least once a week. Here
they should take in problems that they are struggling with and ask for
help. Showing examples of their work will help the teacher to see where
they are going wrong.
Consider getting an in-home math tutor. If your child is struggling with
school math, sending them to a learning center where they will get more
school math is probably not the answer. Instead, get a one-to-one tutor
to set out an academic game plan for their math curriculum. This should
include filling in gaps in their foundational mathematical knowledge and
teaching study and organizational skills.
Remember that when it comes to math, attitude is more important than ability.
You can use Einstein as an example; when he was nine, his teacher told
his father that, no matter what career he chose, he would not succeed!
pic by Cybrarian77